Bilateral Trade Agreement

The U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) – Resources for Understanding

The U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) is a comprehensive document covering trade in goods, protection of intellectual property rights, trade in services, investment protection, business facilitation and transparency. The 140-page agreement, which took almost five years to negotiate and put into effect, is highly-technical and was written to accord with World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international trade and investment principles. The BTA can basically be summarized as a commitment by both sides to create necessary conditions for the products, businesses and nationals of the other side to have fair access to compete in the other’s markets.

When the BTA went into effect on December 10, 2001, the U.S. immediately provided Vietnam’s goods and companies access to the U.S. market — a market that represents nearly a third of world GDP — on the same basis it grants to other countries with which it has normal trade relations. Among other things, this means Vietnam’s products are now assessed much lower tariffs — dropping from an average of 40 percent to an average of three percent — when they enter the U.S. For Vietnam’s part, Vietnam has committed to reform its trade and investment regime to provide a much more level and fair “playing field” for U.S. companies and products in Vietnam. In many cases, Vietnam’s commitments are phased in over a number of years in recognition of the transitional state of Vietnam’s economy and the significant reforms necessary to bring its regulatory regime into compliance with international norms.

The BTA is the most comprehensive trade agreement Vietnam has signed to date. Below are a number of links that provide additional information on the BTA. Several reports at the top of the links list provide readable summaries and/or explanations of what the BTA covers and means. Please note that non-U.S. Government sites and reports do not represent the views of the U.S. Government and are not authoritative interpretations of the BTA.

Illustrative List of Vietnamese Laws Related to BTA Commitments

Other Sites for Further Information on Select BTA Topics